Lyrical approaches to the relationships between solitude, beauty and the world.
Winner of the Commonwealth Club Book Award, Silver Medal for Poetry (1990)
In the title poem "Fortress", the medieval walled castle is the stronghold in which the family dwells. There are stories here of people in the "fortresses" of the self, the city, or the natural world.
All these poems have in common a lyrical approach to solitude ("the only protection / against death/ was to love solitude") and an ironical vision for which love of beauty and the longing for the world are the cure. Hillman combines the imagistic with narrative; in her poems lyricism wars with irony; the solitary noticing consciousness is in control – because the observed world seems beautiful to the observer, great joy is possible despite the sense of difficulty or sorrow.
The language here is rich and elegant. Truth is relentlessly addressed.
"Beautifully nuanced poems explore the nervous geography we must all inhabit"~Sandra Gilbert
"I'm dazzled by Brenda Hillman's great gift."~Carol Muske-Dukes